Category Archives: Home

Services Offered By Commercial Roofing Companies

It is almost inevitable that your roof will have problems from time to time. To avoid costly damages in future you need a commercial roofing company that can remedy the problem on time. However, commercial roofing companies have a wide range of services. Here are the most common ones requested by homeowners.

Shingles Roof Services

Asphalt shingles make ¾ of all American roofs. Many homeowners choose this roofing material because it is inexpensive and easy to install. It comes in a wide variety of colors and are readily available regardless of where your home is located. The main problem with this material is that it doesn’t last very long and always an issue will crop up from time to time.

Sometimes asphalt shingles need to be taken down every 20 years thanks to their relatively short lifespan. A Commercial roofing company can help tear the roof apart and install a new one. A roofing company service will also be necessary from time to time to check for cracked or worn out shingles.

Metal Roof Repair

Metal roofs have become popular in the last few years. They can reflect 70% of heat during summer, especially if it is a silver coated metallic roof. This type of roof also has a long lifespan. They can easily be painted into different colors they are therefore quite versatile in that respect. Metal roofs can either be made of Zinc, aluminum and copper.  Zinc and aluminum are more common since they are relatively inexpensive compared to most roofing materials.

Despite their lifespan they require maintenance from time to time. Part of the reason maintenance is done is to prevent rust. Also, metals sheets are fitted together at the seams. These seams can be problematic and they often cause leakages. Trained professionals can check and recommend viable solutions for these problems.

Roof Maintenance Program

The purpose of a roof maintenance programs is to take care of small issues, before they big budget problems. These maintenance programs will help to prolong the lifespan of the roof. Roof maintenance programs are nowadays designed to ensure that the professionals can effectively pinpoint these issues at the earliest stage of their evolution.

A roof maintenance program is recommended during fall and spring. Professional inspectors can check cap flashings, edge metal, roof adhesive for any issues that may be cropping up. They will locate and address the problem of missing or loose shingles. A professional is required to ensure these tasks are done effectively.

Independent Roof inspection services

The distinction between maintenance and inspection, is that maintenance is done to determine the state of your roof. An independent contractor, other than the one who did the installation, often does an independent inspection. Sometimes the inspection is done immediately after the roof has been installed to determine if the contractor did his work properly.

It has been found that 15% of all roofs will fail within the first few years. This can be very costly for the homeowner especially if the shortcomings end up causing big budget issues in the future. It also puts him in a position where he may not be able to claim warranties. An inspection is also done to determine if the roof was installed according to the industry and local building codes. Failure to adhere to these rules leads to heavy fines and the homeowner may be forced to tear down the roof.

The inspection services involve thorough sampling, inspection, and performing the required readings. The professional from the commercial roofing company will then give a detailed report once the job is complete. The final report will clearly define the problem and possible recommendations where applicable.

Written by True Son Exteriors, the best roofers Columbia, MO has to offer.

Solution of Problems Water Pressure

acProblems with water pressure are one of the more annoying things that can go wrong in a house. Showers become less satisfying and dishes are even more of a chore than usual. A lot of homeowners live with these and many other water problems, simply because they aren’t aware of how to fix them (or prevent them in the first place). There are, however, many options available to change your water pressure from bad to “super-bad”.

Urban Water Pressure
Most people get their water from a municipal water company. In the main lines underground, the water pressure is very high. Due to friction, this water loses its pressure between the main line and your home. It loses still more pressure between where it enters the home and the faucet it comes out of. The smaller the space is for the water to move through, the more friction there will be. If water has low pressure when it comes out of a faucet, it means that somewhere between the main line and your sink, the water is experiencing too much friction.

Sometimes, the excess friction is caused by pipes being too small in the first place. A pipe that is 1/2 inch in diameter causes significantly more friction than one that has a 3/4-inch or a full inch diameter. If your home is full of 1/2-inch pipes, replacing the ones that are easily accessible with 3/4-inch pipe will make a noticeable difference. Paying a professional to come in and replace all the plumbing with 3/4-inch pipe will make an enormous difference. People building a new home can upgrade from 1/2-inch pipe to 3/4-inch pipe for a relatively low price and save a lot of hassle in the long run.

Blockage Might be the Problem
Low water pressure can also be caused by blockages or chemical buildup in pipes. Water leaves small mineral deposits (often calcium) as it travels through plumbing. If enough of these deposits stick to the inside of the pipe, they reduce the diameter through which the water can flow (which in turn increases the friction, and so on). Since mineral buildup large enough to affect flow can easily be seen, examining a sample section of pipe from a fixture where the water pressure is low can identify this problem. Chemicals can be used to break down and flush out mineral buildup in these cases.

If your water pressure has been consistently good and suddenly becomes very poor, the problem may be outside of the house with the water main itself. Let the water company know if you suspect that a pressure problem is coming from outside the house.

Well Water Pressure
Homes that use well water instead of municipal water have a water pressure tank. While these homes can have the same sorts of problems that non-well homes do, the water pressure tank can have problems of its own. The tank may be too small to provide all the pressure needed when water is being used in many places at once. It can also leak. Homeowners with wells may want to have their water pressure tank examined for leaks and for capacity if pressure problems arise.

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Tips To Maximize Your Home’s Curb Appeal

asdCurb appeal is the attractiveness of your home from the curb; this includes the home’s exterior and yard. Having a clean, uncluttered and neat appearance makes a strong first impression to potential buyers and is the key in getting them to view the inside.

Landscaping efforts, even low-cost improvements offer a solid return on investment that you’ll recoup nearly all of. Here are a few tips to maximize your home’s curb appeal.

    1. Mow the Lawn – make sure the lawn is cut regularly – in some cases twice a week to give it a well maintained look. If you don’t have the time hire a service until the house is sold
  • Edge the Lawn – a properly edged lawn stands out and shows your commitment to maintaining the property.
  • A Green Lawn – if the grass is unhealthy or worn plant grass seed and water it to get it back into shape. Patching with turf is a good option for bald spots and heavy trafficked areas.
  • Trim the Trees – tree limbs and foliage should not be touching or hanging near your roofline, have them and hanging limbs removed.
  • Trim the Shrubs – all shrubs should be neatly trimmed – critical for curb appeal.
  • Add Color – plant some color to have the yard pop. Potted annuals at the entrance, near walkways and planting beds can make a big difference. Consult with your local garden center or hire a pro to maximize seasonal color.
  • Pull Weeds – remove weeds from the yard, planting areas and walkways. If you don’t remove the entire root or use a weed killer they will come right back.
  • Mulch & Stone – put a down a fresh layer of mulch and if you have stone make sure all thin and bare spots have proper coverage.
  • Lighting – If you have outside lighting make sure everything works.
  • Clear the Yard – remove all litter, leaves, sticks, and other objects that don’t complement a neat lawn.
  • A Neat Yard – coil water hoses, remove toys from the yard, get rid of broken patio furniture.
  • Seal the Driveway – have the driveway sealed and any cracks repaired.

If your yard and lawn need real help consider hiring a landscape service to get your house ready to compete with others. Again, landscaping offers a great return on investment and having a strong curb appeal is essential to maximizing value and speed of sale.

Using Non-Toxic Weed Control for Your Garden and Green Lawns

Herbicides, whether applied by themselves or in the form of weed and feed products that combine fertilizer and herbicide in one application, can easily run off into streams and lakes and can migrate into groundwater supplies in areas of porous soils.

Preventing Weeds in your Lawn
Weeds move into lawns when conditions favor their growth over that of turf grasses. A healthy lawn will be able to endure drought, diseases and pest infestations better than a stressed lawn. Healthy grasses can also compete better with undesirable weeds.

Promote lawn health by mowing and watering properly:

    • Mow at a 2.5 -3″ height. Taller grass develops deeper roots, an advantage during dry spells
    • Water deeply once a week. Lawns need about an inch of water a week. Supplement with irrigation only when necessary
    • Water early in the morning
  • Water at a rate that the soil can absorb

To control the spread of broad-leaf weeds, try using corn gluten, a non-toxic corn by-product. Apply at the suggested rate in the spring (when forsythia is blooming). Corn gluten will not kill existing weeds, but will prevent new ones from germinating each year that it is applied, and it adds some nitrogen to the soil as well.

Preventing Weeds in Garden Beds
For newly planted beds a two to three inch deep layer of mulch will help keep weeds down until the plants grow and shade the ground. Take care to keep mulch away from the trunks of trees and shrubs as this encourages certain pest problems. Shredded leaves can also be used as a temporary mulch. They will decompose and enrich the soil.

A “living mulch” of ground covers and/or low perennials planted beneath trees and shrubs will add beauty and shade out annual weeds.

Help for Tough-to-Weed Areas
Weeds often take root in between pavers or stones used for walkways and patios, as well as in cracks in asphalt or concrete. Manage weeds in these areas with a highly acidic spray to kill the above-ground portion of the plant.

The commercially available sprays are typically made with vinegar or lemon juice either alone or in combination with herb or citrus oils such as thyme and orange. These sprays work well on annual weeds. Pouring boiling water over the weeds is also an option. Killing perennial weeds with either method will take repeated applications to exhaust the nutrients stored in the root.

Reduce Pesticide Use with Smart Plant Choices
Head off pest and disease problems by choosing plants that have built-in disease and insect resistance.

    • Cool season grasses such as tall and fine fescues, kentucky bluegrass and perennial rye grass are appropriate for the Northeast. Choose fescues for shadier areas. Pick grass seed mixes with more bluegrass for areas that are sunny and will receive a lot of use.
    • Crabapples are a popular tree with multi-season interest. Choose varieties resistant to rust, scab and fireblight – three very common diseases.
    • Roses are susceptible to black spot, but there are some resistant varieties. Or try the hardy “landscape roses” which offer beautiful flowers, excellent cold-hardiness and are disease resistant too.
    • White-barked birches are extremely popular, but plagued by the bronze birch borer. Choose the ‘Heritage’ river birch over the European white birch.
    • Phlox, bee balm and certain asters are susceptible to powdery mildew. Newer cultivars and hybrids such as Phlox ‘David,’ or ‘David’s Lavender,’ New York Aster, and the beebalms ‘Raspberry Wine,’Coral Reef’ and ‘Marshall’s Delight’ are less prone to mildew.
    • Lilacs are also mildew targets. Try ‘Miss Kim,’ the Meyer Lilac, little-leaf lilac or the cultivar ‘James McFarlane.’

Controlling Lawn and Ornamental Pests Naturally
There is an array of natural alternatives to pesticides for controlling insects in your lawn and on your ornamental plants. For example, parasitic nematodes can be applied to the lawn to control grubs before they turn into Japanese and other beetles that eat our plants. Suppressing grubs will also help with mole problems. For specific fixes for insect problems on other ornamentals, consult the Resources page.

Lawns: The Best Way to Fertilize
Over-fertilization or applying fertilizer at the wrong time can harm your lawn. First determine IF there is a nutrient deficiency that needs to be corrected. A soil test can determine this and also give essential information about soil pH. Adding fertilizer will not solve a pH problem. Too much nitrogen decreases root growth, increases susceptibility to disease and decreases tolerance of environmental stresses.

Is the pH Correct?
Turf grasses grow best in soil that is neutral to slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7). Soils in the northeast often need lime to make the soil less acidic. It is best to apply a high-calcium or calcitic limestone rather than dolomitic limestone to avoid adding too much magnesium to the soil.

Adding Nitrogen
Most lawns that are kept green all summer will need extra nitrogen. Nearly 50% of this can be supplied by leaving clippings on the lawn. The best time to apply the other 50% is in the fall (mid to late October). Instead of raking leaves, use a mulching lawn mower to shred the leaves and leave them on the lawn. By spring they will have decomposed, adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil.

Lawns fertilized in the fall will stay greener longer, green-up earlier the following spring, and have higher energy reserves through the summer. This stored energy helps keep turf grasses healthy and more drought resistant. If you fertilize an existing lawn in mid-summer, you’re feeding the weeds.

Broadcasting up to a half of an inch of finished compost on an established lawn provides nitrogen and other trace nutrients and builds organic matter in the soil. More serious nitrogen deficiencies should be corrected with a slow-release, organic source of nitrogen such as blood meal, cottonseed meal or fish meal. Apply in the quantities indicated by your soil test while soil temperatures are above 65 degrees.

How Much Lawn Do You Really Need?
Lawns are often the default landscape, used for “something green” and perceived as low-maintenance. In reality, lawns are one of the most high maintenance and high cost elements of the landscape. Think about how much lawn your lifestyle requires and if there are areas of your yard that could become a garden of perennials and grasses, a mixed shrub border, or a grove of trees with groundcovers beneath.

Any Problem with Your Septic Tank Alarms

A sounding septic tank alarms isn’t a sure sign of sewage entering your home. But, it could be the sign of a real problem. Here’s how to identify the cause of your alarm and find an appropriate solution.

What causes an alarm?

Several problems can trigger an alarm — not all of which are threatening. The four most common causes include:

  • High water events. High water events like excessive rainfall or snowmelt can overwhelm your septic system and limit it’s processing ability.
  • Excess water. If your septic system has a timer — a device that flushes wastewater according to a preset cycle — it may be reacting to too much water in your system and it needs more time to catch up.
  • Septic tank leaks allow groundwater into your tank, making it difficult to process the additional volume of water.
  • Items like paper towels, hand wipes and cotton swabs are difficult for the tank to process and can clog your septic tank.

What to do when you hear an alarm.

Turn off any running water, including laundry, showers, sinks and toilets. Then, wait several hours. If your alarm hasn’t stopped, call a septic maintenance pro. A septic technician will help you identify your problem and offer advice to help you avoid the same problem in the future. Also, in the event of an in-home backup, a septic technician will clean up any dangerous or harmful material.

How to prevent septic problems.

Keep these materials out of your septic system to reduce the risk of future clogs:

  • Baby wipes
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Cotton swaps
  • Matches
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cat litter
  • Paper towels

Specially designed treatments can help keep your septic system clean and blockage- free. Septic treatments introduce waste-consuming bacteria into your septic system, lowering your in-tank levels and removing blockage-causing matter. Have your septic tank pumped regularly to reduce your risk for clogs or backup.

If your septic alarms ring constantly, or if you notice standing sewage in your yard, call a septic pro immediately. Visible sewage and frequent septic backup is a sign of a cracked tank, severe blockage or line damage.


Green Plumbing

Green Plumbing to Reduce Home Energy Use

So, just what can you do to start saving money, and the environment, when it comes to the plumbing in your home? Here’s a list of ideas to get your gears turning, starting with these suggestions for how to save some green by going green in the plumbing department.

  • Insulate Pipes—Uninsulated pipes, especially in exterior walls, are responsible for a significant amount of heat loss as water travels from your hot water heater to the faucet. Insulating your pipes helps to eliminate this problem, and can cut standby energy loss at your hot water heater as well, saving you even more on your utility bills.

  • Remove Plumbing from Exterior Walls—If you can, avoid running your home’s plumbing through outside walls. By running pipes through conditioned spaces instead, you’ll reduce unnecessary heat loss caused by close proximity to cold outdoor temperatures.

  • Install an On-Demand Hot Water Circulation Pump—These pumps send hot water to your fixtures in a matter of seconds, saving you money on two fronts. For starters, you won’t lose heat as hot water unnecessarily sits unused in the pipes, and since you won’t have to run water at the faucet while you wait for hot water to arrive, you’ll reduce your water usage, as well.

  • Install a New Hot Water Heater—Hot water heating can account for as much as 15 percent of your total home energy use. Replacing an older unit with a new, high-efficiency one can have a big impact when it comes to reducing your home heating costs.

Green Plumbing for a Healthier Home

Green remodeling places just as much emphasis on creating healthier homes as it does on improving energy efficiency— and home plumbing is no exception. Here’s a list of suggestions of things you can do to make sure the water in your home is as clean and healthy as possible.

  • Investigate Your Water Supply—For starters, get a copy of your municipal water quality report, or have your water independently tested to identify if there are any problems you need to focus on. Since different water filtration and purification systems target different water quality issues, it’s vital that you know what you’re dealing with before you move forward.

  • Install Chlorine Filters on Showerheads—Seeing as how chlorine is absorbed six times faster through the skin than through the digestive system, it’s not surprising to hear chlorine sensitivity is a serious problem for many people. Special chlorine filters installed in your showerhead can reduce chlorine levels significantly.

  • Install a Whole House Water Filtration System—Whole house filtration systems can eliminate the presence of chemicals, particulates, and micro organisms in your water. That makes for healthier water for you and yours, and helps to extend the life of hot water heaters and plumbing fixtures in areas that have high sediment levels in the water supply.

  • Install Activated Carbon Filters or Reverse Osmosis Systems—If you’re particularly concerned with poor water quality and drinking water, consider introducing one of these water purification strategies into your home. Activated carbon filters are installed on faucets and shower heads to absorb pollutants, while reverse osmosis filtration systems are generally installed at individual sinks to provide purified water for drinking, cooking, or brushing teeth.

Why Pex Pipes is Solution of Effective Plumbing

One of the most widely used and cost effective new plumbing solutions to hit the market in decades is pex plumbing. Pex tubing is plastic plumbing pipe that is perfect for residential use. It’s easy to install, cheaper than traditional copper plumbing, and has a great track record when it comes to performance. It is presently one of the most commonly used plumbing materials in new home building, making it the perfect choice if you’re looking for a functional, cost effective, solution to replacing or installing plumbing in your home.

Pex Tubing is the Best Buy on the Market

Perhaps the greatest draw to using pex pipe for your plumbing needs is cost. From materials right on down to installation, it is hands down the most cost effective plumbing a homeowner can buy. It’s cheaper from the get go from a materials standpoint, and because it can be installed in longer, flexible, lines, using less fittings, you’ll also save on the extra fixtures and fittings that copper plumbing requires. And when it comes to installation, there is no comparison. The flexibility, light weight, and easy fitting of pex tubing drastically cuts down on the time it takes to re-plumb a house, or install it in a new home build, translating into big savings on labor costs. Top to bottom, pex plumbing is one of the best buys on the market.

Pex Tubing and Performance

From a performance standpoint, pex pipe also seems to beat out traditional materials. You don’t need to worry about using it as a potable water delivery system, since it’s proven to be even more resistant to common chemicals found in water systems than traditional plumbing materials. Its smooth interior resists the buildup of corrosive materials and minerals that can accumulate and clog copper pipe over time, and because it’s flexible plastic tubing, it resists freeze damage better than metal pipe.

Don’t Use Pex Outdoors

Unfortunately, pex tubing is not suitable for outdoor applications. While it resists freeze damage indoors, it won’t hold up under hard freezing and thawing conditions. And it should never be exposed to UV light, which can break down the material and cause it to fail. As such, pex plumbing should only be used for indoor plumbing applications.

Save on Maintenance, Too

Another reason to choose pex pipe for your plumbing is directly related to how easy it is to work with and install. That convenience translates into the maintenance side of things, too. If you do suffer a plumbing problem, pex is much easier for your plumber to fix and replace than traditional materials, speeding up repairs and saving you on the most costly part of calling in a plumber: the labor.

Debunking the Rumors

If you’re interested in pex pipe for your home, and begin to look into having it installed, you might encounter doubters who cite problems with plastic plumbing that was commonly installed back in the eighties. It’s true, plastic plumbing got a bad name for a while, largely due to a tendency to spring pin prick leaks in the pipe over time. That is a thing of the past, however. The new generation of pex tubing is made of an entirely different material, and one that has proven itself reliable and nearly maintenance free for years now. You only need to look at its widespread use by plumbers across the country to know that the old problems with plastic plumbing have been overcome by this new, innovative pex tubing.

If you’re interested in pex tubing, talk to a plumber about what it will take to replace the old plumbing in your home with pex or to use it in a new home build. You’ll be amazed by the cost difference over copper, and can rest easy knowing you’re getting an excellent product to boot.

Get a Solution to Pack A Moving Truck

You’ve decided to forego professional local movers and save some money on your move by doing it yourself. You’ve rented a moving truck and packed your belongings, now it’s time to load the truck. You are not as experienced as professional movers in packing a rental truck, so it is advisable that your truck is large enough to accommodate 10-15% more than what you own. With moving, it is common to have more truck space than you anticipated. Make sure you have enough moving blankets on hand to wrap furniture for protection. Blankets are usually available for rent at the truck rental location. Whether it is a local move or a cross country move, everything has to be tight and secured in the truck. Remember that successful loading will make the unloading easier, and it will ensure the safety of your furniture and valuable items during drive time.

Always start loading at the front of the truck and work toward the back. Stock items from floor to ceiling just like you’re playing a tetris game. Load the largest and heaviest items first on the floor against the front wall of the truck. This also includes appliances such as the washers, dryers, refrigerators and freezers. Sofas may be placed vertically on their ends to achieve a tightly loaded truck. Do not place any item in the truck upside down or on its side. Make sure to keep the balance by placing heavy objects on both sides of the truck.

Remove drawers before moving dressers and cabinets. Once these items are on the truck, replace the drawers back, so they aren’t damaged while the truck is in transit. You don’t need to empty the drawers, but you should pack all fragile items. Use bagged pillows, towels and sofa cushions to fill all gaps and spaces around fragile items for extra protection.

If you have a piano or other extremely large items, use a four-wheel dolly or hand truck. Don’t place them in the middle of the truck, those items must be tied to the side wall of the truck.

Next load your largest and heaviest boxes on top of the appliances and furniture. Make sure that you pack them tightly, and then continue to load the truck with lighter boxes, ending with the fragile boxes on very top, ensuring that they will not move during transit.

Place box springs, mattresses, long mirrors, headboards, sofas and table-tops against the longest walls of the truck which will keep them upright and will save space. Slide mirrors, glass table tops and large pictures in between mattresses.

To ensure safer transportation, it may be necessary to disassemble some furniture, such as removing legs from tables, taking apart press wood and particle board furniture. You may also want to disassemble bed frames and remove glass shelves from bookcases.

Drain all gasoline and oil from lawnmowers, weed eaters, chain saws and other motor equipment. Disconnect all batteries. Empty propane tanks from barbeque grill. If for some reason you do not have a full truck load, secure the back of your shipment with straps or ropes to keep the load from sliding.

Tips to Sell Your Home Quickly

aaxWhen you’ve decided it is time to move and don’t have the time to prepare your home for that quick sale, consider home staging. This does not mean a total redesign, it does however, require a serious plan to make your home inviting and desirable to prospective buyers.

So, where do we begin?

The first step to successful staging is to clean out and declutter. Remove all piles of newspaper, magazines, third class mail. Put all folders back into your office space. Clear off dressers and bathroom vanities. Clean up the laundry room. Rid the space of extra baskets and move extra bottles of soap into cabinets or down in the lower level on shelves. Neatly organize all closets, especially the master closet and main coat closet. Give prospective buyers the opportunity to visualize their belongings in large, clean spaces.

Depersonalize! Remove all family photos from tabletops and bookcases. Take a look at your fridge. Is it plastered with soccer schedules and coupons? Get rid of those too. Sort your child’s artwork into folders and store in bins that are out of sight. Sort your children’s shoes and donate outgrown hockey skates and soccer shoes.

Take a walk through your home and remove large pieces of furniture. The idea is to showcase the home, not your inherited, oversized coffee table. Make the spaces in your home appear to be more spacious. Purchase new throw pillows and remove heavy draperies. Let as much natural light in as possible. If you have a fireplace, clean the bricks and remove any accumulations of ashes. Neatly place a few logs in a large basket nearby.

Think about painting. Paint your rooms a soothing, warm, neutral color. Choose a shade that will appeal to most buyers. So, if you have a wall in your great room painted red, neutralize it. Repaint your master bedroom in a soft color and then paint the master bath two shades deeper. Buy a new duvet in white or ivory and keep patterns limited. Have your carpeting cleaned and wash any throw rugs… or just get rid of them. If your dining room is formal, set the table with your finest china. Your prospective buyers will want to see if they can entertain here. Remove large pieces of artwork too, so the new owners can imagine their artwork on your walls.

To sell your home quickly and get your asking price, you need to prepare. A few days staging will pay off in the end. The day of your first open house, purchase fresh flowers for the dining room and another bunch for the coffee table. A large basket of apples or lemons should be placed on the kitchen countertop. Remember to make your home smell inviting, crumble chocolate in a glass dish and place in a very low oven. The take away here is appeal to all the senses. Put on a classic CD, make away plans for your kids and yourself. Hand your home over to your real estate agent, and relax. With any luck, you will quickly hear the word… SOLD!

Review Water Heaters

A hot water heater is a unit that converts energy to heat and transfers that warmth to water. It’s connected to a cold water supply pipe, and has an outgoing hot water pipe, or system of pipes, that supplies heated water to the taps and appliances in your home.

Conventional vs. Tankless
A conventional water heater stores heated water in its tank. Tankless water heaters bypass the tank and route heated water straight to taps or appliances instead. Most water heaters are fueled by natural gas, although propane and electric water heaters are not unusual. Where natural gas is available, it is by far the most efficient fuel for heating the water in your home.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work
Tankless water heaters circulate water through a series of burners or electric coils when a hot water faucet or appliance is turned on. Because the hot water heater doesn’t store hot water, it costs less to operate and doesn’t run out of hot water unless the flow exceeds its heating ability. If two people take separate showers at the same time, a tankless unit may not be able to handle the flow. However, a discerning homeowner, aware of how tankless water heaters work, can save big money on water heating bills by carefully regulating the flow of hot water through the home. If you are unsure whether your hot water needs are compatible with a tankless model, it’s well worth it to talk to a plumber or hot water heater supplier about costs and whether a tankless unit can meet your needs.

Water Heater Maintenance and Tips
Regardless of whether you go with a traditional tank unit, or shift to a tankless model, you can take certain steps to optimize your hot water usage and save money. Lower the thermostat on the water heater to 120 degrees to save on heating costs and to prevent scalding. If you have children in the home, your water heater should never exceed the 120 degree limit to prevent serious injury. Small children don’t understand the difference between hot and cold dials on tubs and sinks, so taking this important precaution can easily fend off trips to the emergency room if the unthinkable should happen.

An alternative solution to this potential scalding problem is to install special cut-off valves in your showers and tubs that automatically cut the flow of water when there is a sudden increase in temperature beyond a reasonable amount.

Schedule Regular Maintenance Checkups
Finally, bring in a technician to perform a regular inspection on your hot water heater. Besides water temperature, it’s very important that your hot water operates as efficiently as possible. Inefficient hot water heaters are a prime source of carbon dioxide poisoning, which can lead to illness and death. And if you’ve got the means, think about upgrading your hot water heater if it is at all possible. New Energy Star rated hot water heaters, tankless or otherwise, pay for themselves over time in energy savings, and are an easy way to help reduce energy consumption if you’re concerned about your impact on the environment.